The Spectacle of Excess Posts

November 29, 2017 /

(Quick warning for some bloody imagery below.) Some moments in wrestling are staggeringly momentous, huge enough to fill a stadium with emotion, so titanic that the audience’s reaction becomes itself part of the moment: the Miz winning the world title; the breaking of the Undertaker’s streak. Some are smaller, more intimate, shared with a group of hundreds at a small show or a live event. Some are so fleeting and personal they may only touch…

November 25, 2017 /

Greetings friends! I have emerged from the abyss with the fourth in my series of posts about the art  of the fabulous Punkrockbigmouth. Check parts I, II, and III if you’re interested, and be sure to check out all of PRBM’s work on punkrockbigmouth.tumblr.com. The term “cartoon satire” doesn’t structure quite right for an -ism, but let’s get over ourselves. Not all -isms can logistically take on the suffix, and I’m just making all this…

November 15, 2017 /

Wrestling is repetitive. At its worst, it’s a frustrating experience, full of dead ends and pointless loops, events that pile up without a story to tie them together, jolting along until they merely stop without closure. But there’s promise and potential there, too. Given enough time and patience, some luck and stubbornness and inspiration, you could put all those repeating patterns together into stories that echo and resonate off each other, like bells that never quite…

November 1, 2017 /

There’s a quote by Edmund Burke that I came across in college. For years, a copy of it in careful violet-ink handwriting was taped to my computer, where I would see it every day: Never despair. But if you do, work on in despair. It’s… not the most uplifting of inspirational quotes, I suppose. The bright assertion of the beginning (Never give up! Hustle, loyalty, respect!) is undermined by the resigned weariness at the end:…

October 26, 2017 /

It’s late 2015, Dan and I have figured out how to buy tickets for New Japan Pro Wrestling shows and managed to attend a couple of shows: in the mountains of Gifu, in the sumo hall in our home base of Nagoya. We’ve even become members of the NJPW fan club, which gives us access to perks and better seats. It’s time to finally make our way to Tokyo and the Mecca of professional wrestling…

October 19, 2017 /

“I’m not sure I should watch this,” I say. We’ve gotten home from work and Smackdown is queued up and ready to go. I know Sami cuts a promo on Daniel Bryan and then he and Kevin win the main event together. Everyone on my timeline is thrilled. It’s the storyline I’ve been looking forward to for years. “I mean it,” I say. “I’m really not sure I should watch this.” “Aren’t you happy for…

October 11, 2017 /

To steal and adapt a saying, some wrestlers are born to their characters, some achieve their characters, and some have their characters thrust upon them. Kevin seems to have been born to his character–a cocky, sneering prodigy who happens to be better than anyone else in the room and knows it (Samoa Joe supposedly said of him way back in 2003, “The arrogant little prick is almost as good as he thinks he is.”*) El…

September 28, 2017 /

“Go on without me,” I say faintly.  It’s 2015, and outside the car windows, the parking lot shimmers with late-summer Florida heat.  “Just…go on without me.” “I did not win a charity auction and get us a tour of the Performance Center just to leave you to die of heatstroke in the car,” Dan says.   He has a point, I have to admit.  Still…  “What if I trip over something? What if I say…

September 26, 2017 /

Who are we, as wrestling fans, and what have we lost? It’s March 28, 1962, in Los Angeles, California. It’s a Wednesday night at the Grand Olympic Auditorium, just south of Downtown, the famous arena about which Charles Bukowski once wrote, “the gallery boys went ape and the fighters fought like fighters and the place was blue with cigar smoke, and how we screamed, baby baby, and threw money and drank our whiskey.” That night…

September 20, 2017 /

The great Bobby “The Brain” Heenan has died, and as such I’m reflecting deeply on his life and exceptional professional wrestling career far earlier than I had ever wanted. As I type, I’m watching an astonishing amount of universally glowing tributes pour in across social media in Heenan’s honor—each one equally sincere and well-deserved—from a range of fans, friends, and former colleagues, past and present. In one sense, I feel sanguine in knowing The Brain’s…